Biometric system to monitor MP attendance is installed in South Africa’s National Assembly


Biometric Time and Attendance clocking systems

A new biometric time and attendance system has been deployed in South Africa’s National Assembly in order to improve attendance monitoring for Members of Parliament, a recent news report in the local media has been able to reveal.

The biometric identification system for MPs uses Members’ fingerprints – captured at the start of the establishment of the fifth democratic Parliament – and has replaced the former manual recording system of recording attendance.

The electronic attendance recording system will apply initially only to NA plenary sittings and will be rolled out to committee meetings at a later date.

Currently, Members’ attendance of House and Committee sittings is the responsibility of their political parties. A new policy on Members’ attendance and leave was adopted in March 2014 but rules still have to be finalised before the policy can be implemented. The policy provided that political parties were responsible for managing and controlling their Members’ absence from Parliament.

However, it also recognised that Members had a dual responsibility – to their political party and to Parliament as an institution – and provided for permission for absence to be sought also from the relevant House.

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